Criticisms of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are spreading quickly in the country’s capital city, with Pyongyang residents mocking his obesity and distrust of the officials surrounding him, sources in the isolated, one-party state say.
Expressions now commonly used to describe Kim in private conversation include “pig” and “incompetent child,” a source in Pyongyang told RFA’s Korean Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The unflattering descriptions spread quickly following the August broadcast of a video showing the overweight Kim inspecting the Taedong River Pig Factory, RFA’s source said.
“Close friends would watch the inspection video together and say, ‘He seems happy to see his friends, the pigs,’ or ‘Among this group of pigs, the human pig seems the largest,’” the source said.
Other insulting terms have recently become popular among Pyongyang residents tired of Kim’s rule, with overly fat animals found in local markets often sneeringly ranked as “leader-class,” RFA’s source said.
“Kim Jong Un says that he seeks everyone’s best interest, but in reality he cares only for himself,” the source added.
“Thus, he is widely said to be engaged in ‘self-seeking politics,’ and because he distrusts everyone around him, he is said to be following ‘disbelieving politics.’”
Alarmed by Kim’s frequent executions of high-ranking officials including his own uncle, Jang Song Thaek, Pyongyang residents now often say “Kim Jong Un is going to hunt down every last North Korean,” the source said.
“People also say that Kim Yeo Jong [Kim’s sister and deputy minister of the North Korean Workers’ Party propaganda department] is now Kim’s second-in-command, and criticize this situation as an example of ‘household’ or ‘family’ politics,” he added.
“They predict that Kim Yeo Jong’s husband is going to end up just like Jang Song Thaek.”
Speaking separately, a second Pyongyang source said that frequent power shortages in the capital are now prompting public facilities and family households to install solar panels on their roofs, leading some to say that “North Koreans believe in the Sun.”
“This may sound like North Koreans are praising Kim Jong Un, who is sometimes called ‘the sun,’ but it actually means that they see that solar panels can fix the energy problems that he is unable to solve,” the source said.
RFA’s sources said that they could never have imagined in the past that popular expressions mocking a North Korean leader would have spread so quickly, but added that many of North Korea’s citizens now get their news from outside sources and have become unhesitatingly critical of the country’s regime.
Reported by Jieun Kim for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Soo Min Jo. Written in English by Richard Finney.